Tiltman Family Coastguards

In January 1817 Henry Tiltman, aged 32 a seaman born in Rye, Sussex and a married man with a least 3 children ( he probably had more but there is no census information available) was nominated to the Preventive Boat. He could hardly have imagined that he was founding a family tradition which would last almost a hundred years and end with the death of his great grandson William (my great grandfather) who was killed at sea when his ship was sunk by a German u boat in 1915. During the next 20 years he served at 10 different Coast Guard stations ending his career as Chief Officer at Old Head Kinsale station in the south of Ireland and spending his retirement in lodgings at Hastings.

I know that he had at least three children because all three went on to become coastguards. Henry born in 1806 in Rye began his seafaring life in 1823. In 1831 he was nominated to Coast Guard service and began his new career at No 2 Battery, Sandown, Ramsgate. Most of his 35 year career was spent in Kent and Sussex and he retired as Chief Boatman on a pension of £37.15.5d to Shoreham. His brother John born in 1813 in Rye seems to have spent all of his career in Kent, retiring because of ill health and dying just four years later at the age of 62.

The last son Thomas William (my great great great grandfather) was born in 1811 and his career as a coastguard seems to have been spent first in Devon where he met his wife Jane Carter of Sidmouth, and where some of their 8 sons and 4 daughters were born, and ended in St Germans; Cornwall where he retired as Chief Coastguard. Three of their sons went on to be coastguards. Frederick born in Cornwall in 1853 started his seafaring life in the Royal Navy and probably transferred to the Coast Guard service after marriage in 1879 at Stonehouse, Devon. He had at least 10 children and seems to have spent all of his career in Cornwall. Alfred, another son of Thomas William was born in Devon in 1839 when his father was serving in Yealm. He also spent his coastguard career in Cornwall, retiring as Chief Boatman to East Looe.

The third coastguard son of Thomas William was James Carter Tiltman (my great great grandfather), born at Turnchapel, Devon in 1843. He was probably a sailor when he met and married Annie McKillop in Greenock, Scotland and their first two children were born in Scotland. They went on to have 7 more girls and 5 more boys and we can follow his career according to where they were born. He joined the Coast Guard service in 1873 whilst probably living in Dublin where son Frederick was born. Jane Carter, Henry and Catherine were born at Cahirmore, Cork, followed by Charlotte and James in Devon, Murran, Minia, Albert and Estella were born in the Orkneys and Annie and Angus Neil on the Isle of Wight when James was serving at St Catherines Head, East Cowes. He ended his career at Rathay Head, Fraserburgh and retired to Aberdeen . The Isle of Wight must have left an impression on some of the family because son Frederick aged 20 was a lodger there in 1891 and went on to marry a local girl Annie Deacon. None of James Carter Tiltmans children became Coast Guards but one of them, Jane Carter married not only into the coastguard service but also into another branch of the Tiltman family!

William Tiltman was born in 1868 in Rye, Sussex . His great grandfather Henry 1759 was uncle to Henry 1782, founder of the Tiltman Coastguard family dynasty. He started his working career as an indentured carpenter in the shipbuilding industry in Rye. In 1886 he joined the Royal Navy and married Jane Carter Tiltman in 1891. Probably through the influence if his father in law James Carter Tiltman he transferred to the Coast Guard service and served mainly in the south of Ireland, in Cahirmore where his wife had been born and later at Kinsale, Cork where my grandfather John Francis was born in 1904. When war broke out in 1914 he was recalled to active service and posted to HMS BAYANO, an armed merchant cruiser used to move men equipment and supplies. At 05.15 am n the 11th of May 1915, captained by Commander Henry Cecil Carr, she was intercepted, torpedoed and sunk on her way from Clyde to Liverpool by U-27 off the coast of Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland in less than three minutes with the loss of 197 lives.

His widow Jane Carter Tiltman, perhaps remembering happier times as a child on the Isle of Wight, moved there with her 5 children. She had at least her brother Frederick living nearby. My grandfather John Francis was the youngest of her children, only eleven when his father died. He grew up on the Island, became a ships boilermaker for J Samuel White and Co in East Cowes, married and had two children Jean, my mother and Anthony. The unbroken line of coastguard service ended with the death of his father.

I knew nothing of this story until 3 months ago when I started researching my family history. My grandfather died 40 years ago when I had just entered the WRNS as a radio operator. I was brought up in Kent and served amongst other places in Cornwall, Ireland and Scotland, never knowing that I was living and working in places where my ancestors had lived and served. I retired as an officer in 1983, frustrated by the fact that as a woman I could not serve at sea (that began two years later in 1985!). I had never wanted to do anything else and never really understood why until now. It is in my blood.


See also: Tiltman Family Coastguards - Part 2

13 Comments · 29995 Reads · Print  -> Posted by Cakeij on November 27 2007


#11 | Hawk on 04/05/2008 17:01:32
I think I have an addendum for you. I'm an ancestor of Angus Neil Tiltman's wife. She was my Great Auntie Mary. They were married in Aberdeen, where Mary grew up, came to Canada, perhaps in 1907. They lived for some years in Rivers, Manitoba, then moved to Winnipeg. Angus worked for the street railway and was killed on the job. He died July 18, 1943, and Mary died April 1, 1971. Both are buried in Winnipeg's Brookside Cemetery. They had 6 children in all, 2 who died as babies, one died in childbirth in 1927, along with her new-born son.
#12 | Cakeij on 14/05/2008 21:23:48
Hi cousin! Angus Neil was the younger brother of Jane Carter Tiltman, coastguard wife and daughter. He had been born at Chale, Isle of Wight, when his father James Carter Tiltman was coastguard there and his last two residences in the UK before emigrating to Canada, were in the Orkneys, again a coastguard posting for his father, and in Aberdeen when his father retired.
#13 | bobweston on 01/08/2008 18:32:48
Have just found the site, wish I had some time ago! Like John, I am directly related to Thomas Tiltman (b. Eastbourne 1827) and Amelia Miles (b. Hastings 1829). The 1851 census shows Amelia living with her parents and young son in Hastings (just before her marriage to Thomas Tiltman in 1853). But it also shows a young William Tiltman (aged 9, b. Rye, scholar) living with them, so there seems to have been a possible Miles - Tiltman link of some sort prior to the marriage in 1853. But I can't get any earlier evidence, especially to a earlier John Tiltman - Mary Miles link. Can John or Cakeij help! I'm at bobweston@hotmail.com. Best regards.

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